Know Your City #1: East Harlem and the Upper East Side

A walk around the Upper East Side and East Harlem

Apart from smartphones, Tinder dates, and Kendrick Lamar songs, New York has a history that is also romantic, rhythmic and elegantly designed. Moving at your own pace, this walk around the city is here to satisfy your sense of curiosity and nostalgia. It is not in chronological order but in a geographical order, forming a circle with no assistance from Google Maps, and with the freedom of getting lost in the streets of Manhattan. Sound like fun?  Let’s go!

    Starting at 5th Ave & 103rd Street, find the Museum of the City of New York. Right across Central Park’s eastern edge, the MCNY opened its doors in 1932, and still portrays the multiple faces and heritages of New Yorkers, expressed in its collection of photographs, textiles, furniture, and manuscripts. You can even get a taste of it online visiting the MCNY Collections Portal, but be sure to check it out with your own eyes.

    Walking to the south, you will find the National Academy Museum & School. Located at 5th Avenue and 90th Street, the institute has provided atelier-style classes for nearly 200 years, and, although attached to its European origins, the museum’s exhibitions and activities represent the diversity of the United States.

    Hopping to 70th Street, you’ll find the house of a man that believed his abode ought to be turned into a museum: The Frick Collection, known for its Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts, is a symbol of the glamour of the Upper East Side.

Stay focused! Now let’s turn left: keep on walking through 70th Street, and by Park Avenue you will find the Asia Society. “Preparing Asians and Americans for a shared future”, the Society provides a multidisciplinary program, generating dialogue among citizens, leaders, and institutions.

    Now walk north to 84th Street and march as eastward as you can, where you will find the Carl Schurz Park. In the area of Yorkville that was once the local home to German culture, take a break and enjoy the sights of the city at sunset.

Once your energy levels are totally refreshed: head up north for the last fifteen minutes of this walk, where you will find El Barrio's Artspace PS109. This building at 215 E 99th Street is a transformed abandoned public school that survived demolition in 1999, to reflourish as an East Harlem community project providing affordable housing for artists and their families.

And with that, our tour of the Upper East Side and East Harlem is complete!  Maybe now you can use your phone and call your friend, to share with her the secrets of a New York City that you experienced with your sneakers, an exploration of this wonderful metropolis that you call home!

Stay tuned for more of NYXT's new blog series, Know Your City, where we highlight the best places to go in each neighborhood in NYC!
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